ClearWater Conservancy recently finalized a conservation easement that will protect and preserve 452 acres of mostly forested land in Pleasant Gap. The property, known as Nittany Noll Preserve, had been owned by the Noll Family of Spring Township since the 1850s and was purchased by Graymont Inc. in January 2017.

Conserving the Nittany Noll Preserve has been a long-time priority for the Noll Family. In 2006, Ray Noll, Jr. began working with ClearWater Conservancy to place a conservation easement on the land. Now, over a decade later, the easement was finalized with Graymont Inc., ensuring the property will remain healthy and intact for future generations.

On December 23, shortly after the easement was finalized, Ray Noll Jr. passed away.

“Ray was a true inspiration for many of us associated with ClearWater,” said Kevin Abbey, land conservation manager. “His enthusiasm for the Nittany Noll Preserve was contagious. We were humbled and happy the Conservation Easement was completed while he was still with us.”

“This project was incredibly important to my father, and our entire family,” explained Vivian Noll, Ray’s daughter. “We know the preserve has always been meaningful place for our community and we want to be sure it remains that way forever.”

Nittany Noll Preserve is now owned by Graymont Inc., a lime and limestone supply company. Graymont continues to own the minerals below the preserve, while ClearWater holds the conservation easement on the surface of the property which allows for rigorous monitoring and management of the preserve. The objective of the easement is to ensure the best ecological management for the plants and animals that depend on the forested woodland for survival, including black bear, red fox, coyote, beaver, turkey, blue heron, woodcock, and golden-winged warbler. The establishment of the easement also ensures that local residents will have continued access to “scenery that’s a favorite among locals and offers views of the Valley as impressive as those offered on Mount Nittany,” according to Doug Wion, chair of ClearWater’s all-volunteer Land Conservation and Stewardship Committee.